Law Pod UK latest episode: Cryptocurrencies & NFTS – are they “property”?
2 November 2022
The Law Commission has recently brought out its consultation paper on these new forms of assets, and how they might be aligned with the ancient law on property. In Episode 171 of Law Pod UK Rosalind English talks to Robert Kellar KC about the challenges this novel arrangement of ownership presents to English property law. What do we mean, exactly, when we talk about the idea of digital assets?
We’re all very used to the idea of electronic money: for decades, money has been represented electronically on in our bank accounts. But the the Law Commission’s paper deals with quite different issues, when it comes to digital assets.
The consultation paper is at pains to stress that property law must encompass these new forms of ownership. As Robert points out in this episode, property rights are useful because they can be enforced against the whole world, whereas other legal rights can be enforced only against someone who has assumed a relevant duty in contract or tort.
Furthermore, the concept of property is widely used in statutes and case law, assuming a central role in proceedings concerning bankruptcy or insolvency, tortious or criminal interference with property, and death and succession.
The Law Commission’s conclusion thus far is that digital assets should be treated as a new category of property.